March 20, 2018 by asmeltz

Whitefish Family Donates $2 Million to FVCC College Center Project

Al Stinson

Whitefish residents Al and Lisa Stinson have pledged $2 million through the Stinson Family Foundation to support the development of a new College Center on Flathead Valley Community College’s Kalispell campus.  The College Center is part of FVCC’s ONE Campaign, a privately funded philanthropic effort to better serve students and the community with the addition of new spaces for learning, creativity and innovation.

“We are greatly appreciative of this incredible gift from the Stinson family and their continued commitment to the importance of education in our community,” FVCC President Jane Karas said. “Their gift will positively impact many lives.”

The 50,000-square-foot College Center will include a large performance and lecture hall, a multi-purpose activity complex with two full basketball courts, an outdoor amphitheater, and a reception hall with an exhibition gallery. The performance hall will serve as the home of the Glacier Symphony. Construction of the College Center will begin in the spring of 2019 with plans to open the facility in the fall of 2020.

In addition to the College Center, the ONE Campaign includes the construction of a new Library & Learning Commons adjacent to the existing Rebecca Chaney Broussard Center for Nursing and Health Science.  FVCC will break ground on the Library & Learning Commons this spring with plans to open the facility next spring semester.

“The scope of the project is tremendous,” Al Stinson said. “It’s an evolution that has to take place for the college to continue to meet the needs of the growing community.”

The son of two teachers, Stinson had a modest upbringing on a farm in Texas. “My parents were always involved in community activities, and they got me involved,” he said. “Over the years, by luck or skill, I’ve been very successful, and I have a theory that you need to give back to the community.”

A board member of the FVCC Foundation since 2011, Stinson said he values how accessible community colleges are to all students. “Going to a four-year school is financially out of reach for many people,” he said. “FVCC is critical to meeting the needs of education for so many of our local high school students who can’t go to the big schools.”

The Stinson’s gift is the third in a series of large gifts recently made to the ONE Campaign from families and individuals who are connected to FVCC and the community. The Broussard family pledged $2.5 million toward the Library & Learning Commons, and Paul Wachholz pledged $4 million toward the College Center. The campaign’s total goal is $18 million.

For more information about the ONE Campaign or to make a charitable gift in support of the campaign, visit www.fvcc.edu/one or contact FVCC Foundation Executive Director Colleen Unterreiner at (406)756-3914 or colleenu@fvcc.edu.